Hosted Versus In-house Document Management

Program Objectives

Which is best?  Having your own in-house document management system or using a hosted or "cloud" system.

Document Management Options

There are hundreds of document management systems to  choose from.  Their cost for implementation can range from a few hundreds of dollars to many tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Of course the capabilities of the systems can vary as widely as well.  So which of the many options is best for your business?

You may wish to build a check list of features which can guide you in a review and in making a choice.  We have published a short guide which can also help you....9 Red Flags to Avoid in Document Management which can help.

Perhaps a Hosted Solution

One of the safest options for new document management users could be a hosted or cloud based solution.  With this option we rent the use of the hosting company's IT infrastructure and software to provide you with the storage and access you desire.  This can be a very cost effective way to begin in the document management arena without committing large amounts of time or money into building an in-house solution.

A hosted solution can be as robust and successful as one in-house as long as the format and structure of the system meets your needs.  Usually these systems have fairly simple interfaces designed for ease of use and ease of training so that purchasers can get up to speed quickly and without a large investment in up front design.

On the other hand because of these requirements you may not find a hosted solution to be as flexible in matching your preferences and you may have to compromise somewhat to make it work.

The Choice is Driven By Your Needs

The final decision on whether to go hosted or in-house must be matched to your needs. 

Do you prefer not to have to deal with the DM administration, licensing, backup, hardware and software structure while having fairly basic and well defined needs for indexing and file storage?  If this is your situation then a hosted solution may be right for you.

If you have concerns about having your data stored on an outside system, have complex workflow needs, have a challenging index design and can offer the IT resources to manage the hardware and software then an in-house system may be right  for you.

Whichever solution meets your comfort level, building a structured document management system to store and retrieve your important documents will provide a long term security and ease of use that paper filing can never match.